I am saddened, I am enraged, and—like you—I am grieving for the individuals who have lost their lives in Georgia, Colorado, and across this country in mass shootings. We must wake up, and the violence must stop. This is an American crisis. We have had over 100 mass shootings in the US in 2021 alone. Has America—have we—become numb to the pain and suffering caused by this crisis? I hope not. We must resist the urge to say, “it is what it is,” respond in the moment, and then move on. Today we issued a statement with the Leagues of Colorado and Boulder County calling for gun reform as a first step toward preventing occurrences of gun related mass killings. But words will not be enough if they are not coupled with action.
I especially want to reflect on the growing racially targeted violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The League condemns these hate crimes against the AAPI community, and we stand in solidarity with them. We issued a statement last week, in partnership with LWV of Georgia, calling on law enforcement officials to seek justice for those murdered. We stand firm in our demands for Congress to both enact and enforce hate crime legislation. This tragedy is also a horrific example of violence against women. It is time for the Violence Against Women Act to be renewed and enforced.
Yesterday the Senate Rules and Administration Committee held a hearing on the For the People Act (S1). During the hearing, senators and witnesses cited the validity of the 2020 Election, bad state voter bills, and the January 6 insurrection to show favor for or opposition to the bill. Our CEO Virginia Kase, submitted a statement to the committee elevating the League’s support for S1.
This is only the beginning of the For the People Act’s journey through the Senate. We must continue to push for senators to take a stand for democracy by voting for S1 to become law. The protections included in S1 are critical to combating the suppressive voter bills sweeping across the states. You can watch yesterday’s hearing online.
The House also recently voted to remove the Equal Rights Amendment deadline. We are getting closer to ensuring equal protection for all, regardless of sex, being included in our Constitution. Read our statement.
In League news, we know that many state Leagues are planning their state conventions during this season. We are creating resources for Leagues to use for this very purpose, including a recorded keynote from me, as well as individual sessions on specific work areas. This is available now on the League Management Site—and please continue to check back as new recordings and resources are added.
Remember to update your calendars, because we are just a month away from our People Powered Day of Action on April 29! It is not too late to sign up your League to participate in our day of action centered around redistricting and our People Power Fair MapsTM program.
In This Together
Finally, I hope you all find time to recharge as our work continues to move quickly. To those of you who celebrate, I wish you a peaceful Passover weekend. And, as a simple reminder of the times we live in, “if you see something, say something.” It could save lives. Something we each can do every day. Stay safe and wear masks!
Campaign for MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK®
LWV CEO Virginia Kase Submits Written Testimony on S1, For the People Act
LWVUS proudly submitted written testimony from our CEO Virginia Kase in support of the For The People Act (S1). The U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration held a full committee hearing on the bill to discuss the importance of several provisions. LWVUS’s testimony expressed our support for the bill and highlighted the sections relating to voting rights, redistricting, and campaign finance, which furthers the League’s work under the campaign for Making Democracy Work®. Read the testimony.
Talking Points: Combatting Voter Suppressive State Legislative Bills
Leagues can use these talking points to establish pro-voter messages in their communications when speaking about voter suppressive bills (in media interviews, for advocacy and/or litigation efforts, etc.). These talking points provide unified messages around the themes of the relevant voter suppression bills in state legislatures across the country. All messages focus on protecting and supporting underrepresented communities.
Register Your People Powered Day of Action Events!
With just over a month until our People Powered Day of Action on April 29, 2021, now is the time to finalize details and begin promoting your League’s events and activities! You can find existing resources to support your planning on the League Management Site resource page. Please register all your League’s events and activities so we can include your events on our national landing page. All Leagues who register their events with us by April 10 will have the chance to win $250! This time, we will be selecting 4 winners! If you have any questions, please reach out to your state League or to the LWVUS Organizing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The For the People Act Promises Redistricting Reform!
The For the People Act is the democracy reform bill the American people want and deserve. But we often overlook its redistricting reforms and the real transformative change they promise. The For the People Act goes a long way to reforming redistricting so that maps are drawn fairly and all voices are valued. The democracy package would require independent redistricting commissions, standardize criteria for map drawing, and inject much needed transparency into the process. Read more on our blog.
Reclaiming Our Districts Webinar: April 6th
Join the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and State Voices on April 6 for a teach-in about redistricting and the For the People Act! We will discuss how the redistricting cycle is going to work this year, how the For the People Act would impact it in the future, and what you can do to get involved. This event will be a great opportunity to get a foundational understanding of redistricting in preparation for our People Powered Day of Action on April 29th! The event will be streamed on Facebook Live. RSVP for the webinar.
Introducing LWV Redistricting Speakers Bureau Program
We are happy to share our new Speakers Bureau Program. As part of our People Powered Fair MapsTM work, the advocacy team has created a packet on how your League can create your own redistricting-focused speakers bureau. This packet has all the information you need to start recruiting, advertising, and building out your own speakers bureau program. Check out the packet.
Elevating LWV Work in National Media
Interviews with national press must be coordinated with the LWVUS Communications Team. At any given time, the national communications staff are speaking with multiple news outlets about a variety of League work, and coordination is essential to ensure we are speaking with one voice. Doing so also gives LWVUS the opportunity to let state or local League spokespersons know about other issues that could come up in your interview. If your League is contacted directly by national press, reach out to LWVUS Communicatons before accepting the interview. We know reporters are on short deadlines and no one wants to miss an opportunity, but preparation and coordination ensure spokespersons are best prepared and have the most up-to-date messaging and talking points from LWVUS. The Communications department prioritizes media needs and will drop other activities to help you prepare for a national interview. When LWVUS knows in advance about the national visibility, we can also prepare to promote these opportunities on social media. Find more tips about preparing for interviews on the League Management Site. Reach the communications team at email@example.com.
Clarifying League Issue Priorities
There has been an increasing number of questions around the difference between the League’s core priorities and when to act on urgent issues. League delegates at our 2020 Convention voted to affirm our core focus areas as the campaign for Making Democracy Work®, which includes voting rights, redistricting/census, improving elections, and campaign finance. Leagues are also encouraged to advocate for urgent issues: immigration, gun safety, healthcare, the Equal Rights Amendment, and National Popular Vote/abolishing the Electoral College. The following “test” is applied to determine when urgent issues trigger a need for action: (1) an unforeseen crisis arises; (2) the crisis demands immediate attention; and (3) there is a clear national consequence with broad impact (i.e., a high number of voters or individuals are impacted, or impact is egregious). We hope sharing this test helps Leagues evaluate local and state-level action and clarifies how requests for national-level action are evaluated. To request national-level action, please use the Federal Action Form. If you have questions about our core work or acting on urgent issues, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOTE411 Video Wins Best Public Service Video Award!
We are proud to announce that our VOTE411 "Election Information You Need," video from the 2020 fall video series won the Ragan Communications V3 Award for best "Public Service Video." Available in English and Spanish, the video provides voters with important information about VOTE411.org. Congrats to everyone who helps power VOTE411 and make it such a successful tool for millions of voters every year!
Policy Webinar: Democracy Reform Issues
Thank you to those who attended our March Policy Webinar on democracy issues and reform. We hope you all enjoyed our discussion on voting rights, gerrymandering and democracy reform, and social justice. You can find a copy of the slides and a recording of the webinar on our policy and advocacy briefings page.
Partner Engagement Resource: America Goes to the Polls Report 2020
During a global pandemic, 2020 had the highest turnout of eligible voters in a presidential election in 120 years. Nonprofits like the League of Women Voters are vital to register, inform, protect, and advocate for better access to voting. Mail ballots, early voting, same day registration, and less restrictive voting policies provided voters with more and better ways to register and vote. To learn more, check out the new report on voter turnout and election policy from our partners at Nonprofit VOTE that includes state-by-state data that can be useful in your work to improve voting access in your state.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
April Webinar: Applying a DEI Lens to Data Collection
Join us and guest presenter Amilcar Guzman, Ph.D., LWVUS Director of Outcomes and Evaluations, for our April webinar. We’ll discuss the importance of demographic collection and best practices for collecting that information. The webinar is on April 22 at 7pm ET. Register now!
This Friday, March 26, we stand in solidarity with the AAPI community to mourn the lives lost due to xenophobia and hate, and we join together across the country in saying #StopAsianHate. We encourage all Leagues to participate by joining one of the hundreds of events around the country or help uplift this message on social media. Find an event or access the toolkit of digital content.
Share your ERA Story with Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazine. Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazine are creating a visibility campaign to ensure the Equal Rights Amendment stays high on the country’s agenda, as well as reporting on the ERA’s status in Congress and the courts while countering the disinformation campaign by opponents of the ERA. If you have a story about your ERA involvement, at rallies, marches, or other advocacy for the ERA, please consider sharing your story with our friends at Feminist Majority Foundation for inclusion in their campaign at: MyERAstory@msmagazine.com.
LWV of Southern New Mexico wrote an op-ed detailing how the For the People Act would help improve access for all voters. Read their piece.
Grace Chimene, president of LWV of Texas, gave an interview speaking to the dangers of the state’s suppressive voting bills. She highlighted the affect of these bills on voters, pushing back against the euphemistic and dangerous language that the bill supporters use to misinform voters.
LWV CEO Virginia Kase Written Testimony on Gun Safety Reform
On March 23rd, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on constitutional and common-sense steps to reduce gun violence. In the wake of the mass shootings in Atlanta, GA, and Boulder, CO, our CEO Virginia Kase submitted testimony and policy recommendations in line with the League’s position on comprehensive gun safety reform. Read Virginia’s testimony.
Upcoming Policy Webinar Schedule
Check our page on the League Management Site to see a listing of all future and past webinars from the LWVUS Advocacy and Litigation team! Webinars will cover setting Legislative priorities, putting together action alerts, policy briefings on legislative issues, and preparing for your next legislative session. Currently, webinars are scheduled through March 2021.
LWV Joins Letter to Federal Agencies Urging Eviction Moratorium Enforcement
The League joined housing justice coalitions in urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to use their authority to enforce the eviction moratorium and protect renters and homeowners. This ask comes in addition to advocacy in Congress and with the President for a more robust and expansive eviction moratorium. Read the letter.
LWV Urges U.S. House to Vote Immediately on NO BAN Act
Building on the League’s endorsement of the reintroduced bill earlier this month, LWV joined allies in urging House leadership to bring the NO BAN Act to a vote. The NO BAN Act would be eligible for an early vote via a legislative process whereby bills passed in the last session are eligible for a vote without going through committee markup. Read the letter.
Rep the League: Congressional Interview Program Is under Construction!
In January, the League released our revamped congressional interview program: Rep the League! We asked League advocates to meet with their congressional delegation and report back by June 1, 2021. Given the passage of several bills in the House, we are updating our interview questions. All other materials are the same. We will publish the revised guidance on the League Management site soon. In the meantime, find our original guidance, a background on congressional interviews, meeting tips, and information on reporting back to LWVUS and reach out to email@example.com with any questions.
LWVUS Asks United Nations to Hold Myanmar Military Accountable for Human Rights Abuses
Along with 183 other organizations working against gender inequality and gender-based violence in a letter to the UN Security Council, LWVUS asked the UN to hold Myanmar’s military and security forces accountable for violence against women. The letter urges the UN to adopt a resolution referring the situation to the International Criminal Court, dispatching peacekeeping forces to Myanmar, and imposing economic sanctions and a global embargo. Read the letter.
March League Community Call
However you personally mark the “before” and “after” of life in a pandemic, March symbolizes the one-year mark of COVID-19 abruptly changing all our lives. This one-year mark is bound to spur difficult feelings, especially for communities that have been disproportionally impacted. Please join LWVUS and fellow League members for our League community care call on Tuesday, March 30th, at 4 pm ET. We will specifically use this time as a League community to reflect on the changes we needed to make as individuals, League members, and as an organization. Our call will include a live community care action with OutreachCircle, so do not miss out! Register today!
Follow Us on OutreachCircle!
Want to stay engaged with empowering voters and defending democracy efforts? Follow the League of Women Voters US on OutreachCircle, our one-stop-shop for resources, action alerts, and volunteer opportunities. You can even use this tool to send emails and texts to your network and post on social media. The LWVUS Organizing Team regularly posts updates on our Circle to ensure our supporters stay in the loop. Click here to follow the LWVUS OutreachCircle or search for “League of Women Voters US” on the OutreachCircle app today! (You will be prompted to create an account.) Want to learn more about how your League can use this free digital tool? Join the OutreachCircle team for an OutreachCircle demo every Friday at 4 pm ET. Learn how Leagues across the country are using OutreachCircle to maximize their LWV power.
OutreachCircle Supporter Kit
Want to sign up for OutreachCircle, but need some help? Or have you already signed up for OutreachCircle but would like more information on how to follow Circles and take actions? No problem! Check out our OutreachCircle supporter kit that outlines step-by-step instructions for how to sign up and use OutreachCircle. Check it out!
2021 Suggested Messaging Calendar
Leagues can use this calendar of nationwide events to help plan your social media messaging for the year. Check back on this page for updates throughout the year. We will add links to relevant talking points, statements, graphics, and more as they are developed.
Apply for a New Task Force on League Structure
As the League of Women Voters enters its second century of voter education and advocacy, we are seeking to ensure that our organizational structure is optimally aligned for the greatest possible success. The League Structure Task Force will assess our current operating model and make recommendations for improvements that will result in a stronger League network, more engaged members and volunteers from all walks of life, increased organizational efficiency, and, ultimately, greater mission impact on behalf of voters. This task force will meet via Zoom one to two times per month from April to December 2021, with the possibility of extending if necessary. Both new and longstanding League members are encouraged to apply. The deadline is April 1.
Governance and Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of interest arise whenever a board member’s personal or professional interests are in contradiction with those of an organization. Understanding conflicts of interest and creating a conflict of interest policy for your board members creates a safeguard for your League and can further public trust in the organization and its leaders. Check out the following BoardSource resources for continued learning and best practices for managing a conflict of interest.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or need guidance in planning your meeting.
LWVUS Webinars for State Conventions and Meetings
LWVUS is excited to launch an LMS page containing pre-recorded webinars for use during state conventions and annual meetings! This page contains a myriad of webinars and videos, supporting materials, and resources for hosting your virtual events. From increasing your engagement on social media to learning about democracy as a social justice issue, these sessions can be added into your workshop agenda with ease. Though we regret that we can’t be with all of you in person, we hope these resources reach a larger audience than ever before. Welcome messages from Virginia Kase and a keynote speech from President Turner will be added in April.
2021 Council / 2022 Convention
Planning for the virtual 2021 Council, on June 24–27, is underway. Registration will open in April to allow us to build the platform for this virtual event. The 2022 Convention will take place in June 2022 in Denver, CO. More details will be released in the fall of 2021. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns.
Meet Our Legislative Specialist for Social Justice Reform
Maddie Schumacher is the Legislative Specialist for Social Justice Reform at the League of Women Voters. In this role, Maddie is working to expand LWV advocacy on urgent issue areas like immigration and climate justice. Every day they build relationships on the Hill and in coalitions to ensure our communities are represented in legislation. Before joining the League, Maddie led policy at OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates and worked in the Minnesota State Legislature. They’re originally from Wisconsin and Minnesota, where they grew up organizing in Line 3 pipeline protests and teaching GED courses to formerly-incarcerated young Black men. In their free time, they volunteer with mutual aid organizations, bake sourdough, and go camping with their fiancée and pup.
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